Bulldog volleyball team hopes to hit its stride in conference play

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Members of the MFL MarMac volleyball team include (front, left to right) Savannah Schaller, Hannah Bogdonovich, Makayla Morrissey, Kadence Pape, Mindy Keehner, Ella Corlett, Ashley Shaw; (back) assistant coach Stephanie Michel, Aliyah Thornton, Grace Anderson, Brooke Gillitzer, Hailee Corlett and head coach Angela Rumph. Not pictured is Melanie Ruff. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By Audrey Posten, Times-Register

 

Some new faces come to the forefront of the MFL MarMac volleyball team this season, but head coach Angela Rumph said the goal remains the same: to finish at or better than the Bulldogs’ tie for second place in the Upper Iowa Conference a year ago.

 

“That’s our ultimate goal: go through the season and each of those Upper Iowa Conference games and try to come out on top the best we can,” she said.

 

According to Rumph, the MFL MarMac lineup will include left hitters Hailee Corlett and Savannah Schaller, both seniors, while senior Grace Anderson and junior Ella Corlett will be the middles. Right sides are senior Brook Gillitzer and junior Hannah Bogdonovich. Senior Kadence Pape will fill the libero position and senior Ashley Shaw and junior Makayla Morrissey will handle setting duties.

 

“We’re going to do a setter in the back row and three hitters across the front,” Rumph said.

 

Varsity players since their sophomore seasons, Anderson and Gillitzer have the most experience of the group.

 

“They’re definitely going to step up and be the biggest leaders for us,” Rumph said. “My senior class, especially, is a well rounded group of individuals. Their attitude is really good and they work well together. They are very good role models for our underclassmen who are coming up to fill those positions.”

 

Having two new setters will take some adjustment, but Rumph assured Shaw and Morrissey have been working hard.

 

Shaw practiced with the varsity squad last year, so has experience playing at that level. As a defensive specialist, she also knows the pace of the game.

 

“Now, stepping up as a setter, she’s going to be able to keep the pace moving,” the coach explained. “Makayla, this is her first experience on varsity, so she’s got a lot of work to do. But she’s very coachable, and she wants to learn her position and she wants to do the best she can. We are working on her skills daily.”

 

Rumph feels working on each player’s individual skills will lead to success for the whole team.

 

The Bulldogs’ first few games, including the Aug. 23 opener against Cascade and a triangular at New Hampton on Aug. 30, will be a bit of a learning curve, she noted.

 

“Learning the pace of the game, learning to work together, trusting our teammates, finding a rotation that works well for us and putting those girls at their best spot on the floor. It’s going to be trial and error,” Rumph said.

 

 She hopes the team will be firing on all cylinders by the time the conference schedule really gets underway in September.

 

“Once we get going on those conference games, we get our rhythm, and it’s about halfway through the season when we get a strong rotation where everyone is comfortable and where they are supposed to be. Then we get it figured out and can get those wins right back to back,” Rumph stated. “My goal this year is to start that streak a little sooner this season. We’ve been doing a lot of work preseason to be ready for our first matches. Time will tell.”

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